James Arthur Ray: Downfall of a “Spiritual Warrior”

March 2009

Times have been tough for Matthew Smith. A self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fanatic from Clifton, N.J., Mr. Smith, 38, was laid off from his job as a retail manager five months ago and has been living on unemployment ever since. His dream of starting his own business fizzled along with his marriage — one was directly tied to the other, he says. And his efforts to find a new job have so far been futile.

“My life has not been working,” he said, as he stood inside a huge ballroom at the Westin Hotel on Saturday along with 500 other people, many of them also unemployed and looking for something better.

But this was not a job fair. They were here to see a motivational speaker and self-help guru, and paying a hefty price to do so: $1,297 for a high-decibel, two-day seminar. In this case, the speaker was James Arthur Ray, one of the emerging names in the $11 billion self-improvement industry, and the event was called the Harmonic Wealth Weekend.

Continue reading James Arthur Ray: Downfall of a “Spiritual Warrior”

Busty Heart Splits Planks With Cans, Smashes Fruits With Melons

Some Martial Development readers have alleged that I am overly critical of breaking practices in the martial arts. To be fair, it is not all vanity and deceit, and if I’ve previously implied that its adherents are all boobs, then I must apologize.

Busty Heart

Yes, hitting bags alone isn’t much fun. And when properly executed, breaking can build power, control, and self-confidence. With diligent practice, you can bust an entire rack of melons, or a nicely stacked set of boards.

In the following videos, model and stripper Busty Heart shows her breaking talent. Continue reading Busty Heart Splits Planks With Cans, Smashes Fruits With Melons

Karate Dance War Explosion!

Sensei Pacer is not only a former member of The Power Team, a crew of Christian Evangelist strongmen. He is also a personal trainer, and the founder of Hip Hop Martial Arts.

Master Sensei Pacer likes to say that “nobody in the world moves like Sensei Pacer.”

Suzi Wong, Fytedancer

Sorry, Sensei Pacer, but I know someone who moves like Sensei Pacer! Continue reading Karate Dance War Explosion!

Board Breaking Tips: How Anyone Can, Why Nobody Should

My first experience with board breaking was a total humiliation. I was a ten-year-old Karate student, with six months of practice under my orange belt, when my sensei decided we should all break some wood. He asked each of us to acquire a stack of boards, one square foot by one inch in size, and bring them to our next class.

As a bright but naive child, I had no idea that the practice of tameshiwari, or breaking, was an instrument of martial arts fraud. I only knew that it looked cool, and that it required focus–or so my teacher said. Continue reading Board Breaking Tips: How Anyone Can, Why Nobody Should

Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Penn & Teller: Bullshit

In a recent episode of their hit Showtime series, stage magicians Penn Jilette and Raymond Teller warn viewers away from the universally fraudulent field of martial arts. Now a real expert martial artist rescues us from their half-baked debunkings.

For their own convenience, Penn and Teller divide the world of martial arts into three categories: traditional, mystical, and murderous. Continue reading Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds

Before the days of the strip-mall Kung Fu Dojo, some martial artists earned a living by performing in travelling circus shows.  These artists demonstrated seemingly miraculous feats to entertain their audience, and attributed them to esoteric qigong training.

Truthfully, these “vagabond skills” are mostly cheap parlor tricks.  In this video clip, Wing Chun instructor Leung Ting demonstrates the (relatively) safe and easy way to break bricks with your bare hands, and slice yourself with sharp blades.  Continue reading Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds